There are thing that I hear when I attend our Navajo government meetings that makes my heart cry.
Navajo Area Indian Health Services Director Roselyn John informed the Navajo Council today that some of the 14 members of the Navajo Nation are below the age of 12.
Navajo Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty cried as she said that she could not understand why the Chilchinbeto Community School was not immediately closed after the first positive case of COVID-19 was identied as a Chilchinbeto resident Tuesday. The kids were not picked up from school until Sunday, Delegate Crotty said. Delegate Daniel Tso also demanded an explanation.
When the first case of COVID-19 was announced by President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Lizer Myron, the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Preparedness Team and its Health Command Operations Center was in command.
Nez and Lizer announced the establishment of the team in a Feb. 28, 2020. press release and identified team members as the Office of the President and Vice President, Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, Navajo Nation Division of Social Services, Navajo Nation Department of Emergency Management, Department of Diné Education, Navajo Nation Division of Community Development, U.S. Indian Health Service, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education.
Navajo Area Indian Health Service Director Roselyn Tso also informed the Council that she was required to enact the IHS Epi-Response Team after events last night. Last night, at 10:39 p.m., Nez and Lizer announced in a news release that 14 members of the Navajo Nation, who are from Chilchinbeto tested positive for COVID-19. They did not say in their press release that some of the 14 were children attending the Chilchinbeto Community School.
On March 11, Nez and Lizer announced in a press release, “A Health Command Operations Center is also established within the Department of Health, which is made up of five function areas including Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance/Administration.” The Health Command Operations Center is headed by Incident Commander Dave Nez.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown, who represents the chapters of Chilchinbeto, Kayenta and Dennehotso, made an emotional plea the Council for financial support for Chilchinbeto and Kayenta durng the Council’s debate on the appropriation of $15,00 to each of the 110 chapters for emergency assistance. Delegate Brown said the communities needed supplies, especially Chilchinbeto, which was quarantined along with the Chilchinbeto Community School.
Delegate Brown noted that a Navajo Nation Incident Command Post was going up in in the area Friday. The first three COVID-19 cases, which included two from Chilchinbeto, were reported Tuesday.
Before hearing from Navajo Area IHS director Tso, the Council appropriated $4 million to the Nez-Lizer COVID-19 Preparedness Team and its Health Command Operation Center Friday. Nez immediately signed the Council’s resolution that appropriated the $4 million Friday.
IHS Director Tso also informed the Council that the Navajo Area health services, which includes 12 health facilities on the Navajo Nation, has medical supplies for 30 days and June is the estimated delivery date of more supplies, which includes face masks and other personal protective equipment, small ventilators, and other items for medical staff at the 12 health centers.
Among the needed IHS supplies was small face masks with Disney characters…Just saying…